Gratitude and Growth
First off, I want to say what an absolute privilege it has been running as an Angry Chicken, better known as a Greater Lowell Road Runner, for the better part of the last year! I learned so much about running and about myself too, and I have a large debt of gratitude to the club that got me into racing. I knew after my first couple years of running that I was never going to stop pushing myself to get better, but I never felt the desire to race against other people. After attending a month of indoor workouts at the Lexington High School track last fall, I ended up getting a huge 5k PR in my last race of 2013. It was all thanks to the guys I was running with, especially Bash, Theodoros and Alex Eld, who all convinced me, either verbally or just with workouts that I could run faster than I previously thought. 2014 was just more of the same. After a long, cold winter of hammering out workouts and hearing about other guys in the club doing the same I was inspired to unleash a little in my first race in the green and was rewarded with a 3rd place overall at the competitive and challenging Stu’s 30k. From there it went on to New Bedford Half Marathon, my first Gran Prix race ever, where I worked with Bashkim and he helped me along to a 5 minute PR! I’ve elaborated about my first Boston Marathon too many times already in this blog, but the support from Lowell family along the course was simply unmatched. Competitors near me were even muttering about all the cheers I was getting. (okay, two of them did) Workouts with the Pocatello Kid and E-J taught me that it’s cool and normal to be a little crazy if you want to do this (and also assured me that I’m only beginning to understand what tough is) As the year went on, I felt that it was time to try something new this fall and an opportunity to help as the assistant cross country coach at a local college presented itself and I decided to go full in with the cross country theme and skip a fall marathon. I’ve completely fallen in love the cross country and will certainly plan for it every fall from now on! Spring will still be devoted to a marathons though, nothing like long runs and training in a New England winter. 😉
As for the club change I’ve mentioned though; I have started spending more time and doing more training with the great crew that is, the Sisu Project and found yet another great group of teammates and people! As my own focus has shifted to cross country and the desire to get faster, it only makes sense to run with guys who are going to help me do just that and working towards similar goals. While I won’t technically be on the team until the season has already ended, I am looking forward to this next chapter in my running and what 2015 will hold. My goals will once again be massive, and once again it looks like I will be incredibly blessed to have a fantastic USATF-NE Club to help me achieve them. So, as I look back on what the last year has taught me, I’m overwhelmed with support of the club running community in New England and the positive impact it has. I’ve learned that I am fiercely competitive, always hungry to get better, and always in love with running. Thanks to Greater Lowell for the awesome part it has played in my running and my life, I look forward to seeing you all at races and elsewhere for many years to come. I’m now looking forward to the part Sisu Project will play in the future and the many memories still to be made.
Training and Mayor’s Cup Recap
As for training, it’s still going very well, from what I can tell. After hitting my two biggest mileage weeks ever, this week was a slight dip as I thought I would taper a little for Mayor’s Cup. I didn’t really taper much as it turned out, but my legs didn’t feel too garbage either and I still finished a set of 4xMile in my workout after the race. I’m no Galen Rupp, but at least I can say that I know how painful a post race workout feels, I’m sure the Nate Jenkins of the world can relate to that, too. I didn’t even come close to the goal for time or placement that I had for the 8k yesterday, but my tactics seemed okay and I closed hard. The field was super, super deep with pros on both the men and women’s side, which somehow isn’t much consolation as my silly mind wants to believe I can just run up there with them! I am humbled, hungry and fired up after it though. I was initially content with the effort, but after a day to dwell on it, I’ve determined that I have a massive chip on my shoulder now, that can only be removed by demolishing myself and running a wicked fast time in the USATF-NE XC Championship 10k. I was able to work my way past some guys I normally get dusted by, but I know there is a lot of gas left in the tank and lot more pain I can endure. It’s a healthy motivation, I think, I’m not distressed by the result, but I’m nowhere near satisfied with it either. I know that my best races have all felt easy and yesterday, by comparison, felt painful from the gun. As I run ‘unattached’ in the last few races of 2014, I have no worries about good team scoring to affect my strategy, so I will most likely be taking some risks and going out hard to see what I can hold onto. I know the prudent approach is to pace for even or negative splits, but when you take the race as a training exercise, what’s the harm in going out in a blaze of fire? haha
I guess this post should now end with a #sisuup!